Appreciation Season (Conclusion)

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(Image licensed by Ingram Publishing)

Diana Vollmer |

As part of your giving, be a benefactor to those in need

SAN FRANCISCO — During the holiday season, most celebrations center on gratitude. Appreciation for loved ones, friends, customers, employees and community are all manifested in many ways, both publicly and privately, during this period of festivities and commemoration.

Fittingly, this is a worthy time to express your appreciation as well. In addition to being magnanimous, the visibility created by your activities will keep your drycleaning business and your generosity “top of mind” as customers and prospects need your products and services.

The natural starting point for your kindness, of course, is your family and friends, but let’s look beyond your private circle to the broader context of your business and community relationships.

REACH OUT

Community outreach builds on the general charitable spirit of the season and allows you to be a good corporate citizen and a benefactor to those in need.

An example is a stuffed animal drive that benefits sick, needy or at-risk children.

You can do this alone but it will be easier with a partner like schools, the police, social services or your fire department.

You provide the collection point for both new and gently used stuffed toys. The used ones are easy to clean, so you can also make that contribution if you so choose.

By displaying stuffed toys with an explanatory sign in your windows, on your counters, and on hangtags attached to orders and customer doors, the word will quickly spread for donations.

It is also the kind of public service announcement that the media likes to promote, so make them aware of your efforts and the general public at large will be alerted.

If you want to make a bigger impact, have your drivers dress in animal costumes (CSRs, too) and hand out invitations to donate with offers to pick up the donations. Then play Santa at a big giveaway event to distribute the toys.

Get your employees involved to deliver them to hospitals, police stations, fire stations, etc. Keep your customers informed of your goals and status toward achieving the goals with a jumbo thermometer chart near your pylon sign.

Invite the public to get involved in the distribution, either in costume or not. Encourage them to bring their live pets if the donation venue allows it.

Many facilities welcome cuddly, furry visitors and their presence will highlight and complement the stuffed animal theme as well. Most of your prospective partners will have distribution plans that will get the donations to the kids who need them.

SEASONING

Lastly, but importantly, help your customers and prospects prepare for this ultra-busy season by reminding them early on how you can help them to accomplish their overwhelming “to-do” lists.

As the various cultural and religious holidays converge at the end of the year, most families hold celebrations that involve extensive entertaining.

Help them put their best foot forward by cleaning their rugs, window coverings, household-best bed-and-bath ensembles, fine table linens, party clothing, pet beds, iconic costumes for traditional celebrations and festivals, winter coats and those all-important scarves, mittens and boots.

Make a promotional sales and marketing list with an implementation calendar that you can update and customize each year.

Include all of the internal timelines and key dates for developing and sending the notices, invitations, promotional offerings (if any), pickup schedules, and cutoff dates for timely delivery.

If you have an ultrasonic cleaning machine, this is a perfect time to promote the benefits of the capability to clean all manner of materials beyond textiles. The range includes fine silver (a nasty, time-consuming job if done at home), baskets, favorite decorations, dolls and toys, sports equipment and gear, shoes, window coverings, electronics, etc.

Getting a home ready for guests, especially ones who will be looking for sentimental gifts from years past, is a daunting challenge.

Give them the gift of knowledge of and access to your fabricare services to lessen their preparation burden.

You have many joint venture partners and business associates who help build your business throughout the year. The non-customer referrers — retailers, wardrobe consultants, designers, manufacturers and suppliers — all come to mind. Don’t forget to show your appreciation for their contribution to your success.

As you have probably experienced in your private life, giving is a gift that is returned many times over in psychic rewards.

That is also true of business giving with an additional reward thrown in. Generosity of spirit and giving is good for business and good for your dry cleaner’s bottom line.

It is fulfilling to do good and do well at the same time.

To read Part One, go HERE.

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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